British indie-crooners The Beautiful South once sung that Rotterdam is like anywhere, suggesting the city lacked any outstanding attributes. Architecturally, they were pretty much bang on. Having been razed to the ground during World War II, Rotterdam’s become a mish-mash of assorted styles, with a postmodern disregard for tradition, and all constructed around Europe’s biggest and busiest port.
Rotterdam is mostly known for its harbour which is the largest port in Europe (used to be the largest in the world), and has been awarded best port in the world many times. Rotterdam is also known for its skyline. In World War II, large parts of Rotterdam have been destroyed during never ending bombing raids by the germans. The city has been rebuilt though not to its former glory but in an innovative modern style. The many glass and steel high-rises give Rotterdam its nickname: Manhattan by the Maas.
There’s plenty in the way of museums to check out, too, with city-center buildings dedicated to everything from photography to the boats of Rotterdam’s impressive array of canals to drift around and learn about. What blows most visitors away, though, is the nightlife. Famous for it’s own gritty, intense form of techno that was often simply a stab at bitter rivals Amsterdam, Rotterdam venues like beat-heavy Off_Corso or the glossy new Luxor Theatre entertainment center startle in with their hefty bass.
Rotterdam has its own airport and is easily reachable by car and by train. The city has direct train connections with The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Brussels and Paris. Public transit in Rotterdam are the tram, the metro, the bus and the train.
The famous "De Kuip" stadium of football club Feyenoord (14 times Dutch champion, European and World Champion in 1970) dating from 1935 is often considered as the most beautiful football stadium of The Netherlands.
You certainly won’t find a typical side of Holland here, Rotterdam is a gritty, down to earth city prone to going its own way, yet managing to be up-to-the-minute modern. Getting stuck in the unpredictable architecture, plentiful festivals and high-end shopping and it won’t take long before you realize that Rotterdam is far from just anywhere.
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